Friday, 19 January 2018

NEWS AND STORIES

Business and Economy

Business and Economy (750)

Two Americans and two Canadians have been kidnapped in an ambush in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, police said on Wednesday, in the latest abduction targeting foreigners.

State police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu said “unknown armed men” seized the four on the road to Abuja at 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.

“They engaged in a fierce gun battle with the two police escorts attached to the expatriates, who unfortunately lost their lives,” he added.

No further details were given and Aliyu said “every possible means” were being employed to rescue the four abductees and arrest the kidnappers.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Abuja said he had no comment to make when contacted by AFP while there was no immediate response from the Canadian High Commission.

Kidnapping has long been a problem in Nigeria’s southern states, where high-profile individuals, including the families of prominent politicians, are regularly seized.

Victims are usually released after several days once a ransom is paid.

In recent years the crime has spread across the country as the economy has stalled. A crackdown on cattle rustling has been blamed for rising numbers of abductions in the north.

In October last year, an armed gang seized four British missionaries working for a medical charity in the oil-rich but impoverished state of Delta in the south.

One of the hostages was killed while the three other hostages were later released.

Also in October, the Vatican said an Italian priest was kidnapped near Benin City, the capital of Edo state, which borders Delta state to the north. He was also later released.

Last February, two German archaeologists from the Goethe University in Frankfurt were kidnapped from an excavation site in Kaduna state.

The site was off the main road linking the airport north of the state capital Kaduna city with Abuja, some 220 kilometres (137 miles) away.

The pair were freed after several days.

Safety on the Kaduna-Abuja road came under intense scrutiny last year when the federal government announced the closure of the capital’s only airport for essential runway repairs.

Many foreign missions and companies advised staff to limit their travel during the closure period, as all domestic and some international flights were switched to Abuja.

In July 2016, Sierra Leone’s defence attaché to Nigeria was kidnapped by men in military fatigues armed with AK-47 rifles at a fake checkpoint on the Abuja-Kaduna road.

Posted On Thursday, 18 January 2018 04:17 Written by

The Tunisian government has announced a wave of social reforms, reacting to days of demonstrations by anti-austerity protesters.

There were fresh protests on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Emergency government meetings have been held in response to the protests, which have seen more than 800 arrests.

President Beji Caid Essebsi visited a district of Tunis on Sunday, saying he understood the people's suffering.

Protesters have taken to the streets again following calls from opposition parties.

They argue conditions have not improved since Ben Ali was deposed as president at the start of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.

When did the protests begin and what caused them?

Demonstrations began on 7 January after the government raised value-added tax and social contributions, and increased some prices on goods in its 2018 budget.

Rallies have taken place in at least 10 different areas.

On Sunday, hundreds of people poured into one of the flashpoints of the 2011 uprising, Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis.

 
Some anti-austerity protests have turned violent in recent days

Demonstrators also rallied outside the offices of the UGTT union, demanding the budget be abandoned and venting anger at price rises.

Last week saw a wave of protests, some of which turned violent after dark.

The government accused demonstrators of setting fire to police cars and attacking officials. Some people tried to take over shopping malls and stores, while others blocked roads.

In the town of Thala, near the Algerian border, the army was called in on Wednesday after protesters burned down the national security offices and police were forced to retreat.

Interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani said on Saturday that 803 people had been arrested so far on suspicion of violence, theft and looting.

He said 97 members of the security forces had been injured, but did not say how many protesters had been hurt.

Demonstrators accused police of a violent crackdown.

What are the reforms being promised?

The announcement came after two hours of crisis talks at the presidential palace that included President Essebsi, political parties and trade unionists.

President surrounded by politicians unionists and employers at a long tableImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Political parties, unions and employers met on Saturday for crisis talks amid protests

Officials said plans had been submitted to parliament to reform medical care, housing and increase aid to the poor.

Social affairs minister Mohammed Trabelsi said the government proposed increasing welfare payments to those in need by 170m dinars ($70m; £50m).

"This will affect about 250,000 families. It will help the poor and middle class," he said.

Mr Trabelsi also alluded to plans for guaranteed medical care and housing reform.

What did Mr Essebsi say on Sunday?

He visited the marginalised Tunis district of Ettdhamon, opening a youth centre there.

In a short and informal speech, he promised to address youth unemployment and highlighted the government's move to help poorer families, saying: "We feel for you, these are our families."

But he also said: "Be modest, your country does not have a lot of means."

What is Tunisia's economic situation?

Tunisia has been struggling economically since Ben Ali was ousted after more than 20 years in power.

That revolution was sparked by high unemployment and worries about corruption.

However, seven years on, some of the same problems remain - not helped by terror attacks that have hit Tunisia's vital tourism industry and foreign investment opportunities.

In December 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told Tunisia it needed to take "urgent action" and "decisive measures" to reduce its deficit. The IMF gave the country a $2.9bn (£2.2bn) loan in 2015.

Ben Ali, who lives in exile in Saudi Arabia, was convicted in absentia by a Tunisian court in 2011 of embezzlement and misuse of public funds and sentenced to 35 years.

 
Posted On Sunday, 14 January 2018 16:48 Written by

A U.S. couple will go to jail after holding a Nigerian woman captive as an unpaid maid and nanny for two years in a Houston, Texas suburb, restricting her movements and threatening her if she objected, authorities said on Monday.

The husband and wife will pay restitution of more than $100,000 to the victim, whom they lured from Lagos with promises of wages that were never paid, according to the Office of Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Reuters reports.

Sandra Nsobundu, 49, pleaded guilty to a forced labor documents charge and her husband Chudy Nsobundu, 57, pleaded guilty to visa fraud in hearings that ended late on Friday, the office said in a statement.

The victim was rescued in October 2015 after a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

She had been living for more than two years with the Nsobundu family in Katy, Texas, officials said.

During that time, the Nsobundus kept the woman’s passport from her, did not pay her and threatened to send her back to Nigeria if she objected.

They restricted her movements to two short walks each day around the block with their children and frequently yelled at her and berated her, officials said.

The couple had helped falsify a U.S. visa application for the victim with lies to boost the chances that it would be approved and hide that she would be working illegally as a housemaid and nanny, officials said.

Among the falsehoods, the application portrayed her as married and as 20 years older than she was, officials said. It also falsely claimed she was related to the Nsobundu family.

Sandra and Chudy Nsobundu each will serve sentences of seven months in jail and seven months home confinement, and they will pay more than $121,000 in restitution to the victim, officials said.

Posted On Tuesday, 09 January 2018 05:03 Written by

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, who made the disclosure in Benin, disclosed that the Sisters were rescued during an operation by policemen from the Command.

Kokumo said that while the abductors fled on sighting the security operatives, the victims were taken to a secure health facility for medical attention.

“Police operatives closed in on the dare-devil kidnappers and they had no other option than to release the Reverend Sisters,” Kokumo said.

It was gathered that one of the victims, Veronica Ajayi, was released at about 6pm on Saturday, while the other five were released before 12 am on Sunday.

Confirming the release of the Reverend Sisters, the Superior-General of the Catholic Convent, Sister Agatha Osarekhoe, said that the sisters returned unhurt.

Osarekhoe stated, “We are happy; to God be the glory! One (Ajayi) was released yesterday (Saturday) and the others were also released.

“They are fine are fine. They are receiving some medical checkup in a hospital.”

Recall that the unknown gunmen stormed the residence of the sisters in Iguoriakhi, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the state on November 13, and took them away in a waiting speedboat.

The kidnappers were said to have later demanded a ransom of N20 million.

But the Superior-General disclosed that no ransom was paid, even as she said that the police did their best to ensure that the sisters regained their freedom.

She said “No ransom was paid. Well, we know that they (police) did their best because they are aware.

“They had to do their work, so the police were aware. The most important thing is that our sisters are out.”

She further said that the three females would be reunited with their families later.

Osarekhoe said, “Certainly, they are supposed to be reunited with their families after some period of time. But with this experience, we will just get them settled down and then know what to.

“Their families have been anxious. So, we will get the sisters to speak with them (families).”

 
 
Posted On Monday, 08 January 2018 01:09 Written by

Another Chibok schoolgirl has been rescued in Borno State by troops.

Two batches of 21 and 82 girls have been freed as a result of the Federal Government’s negotiations with the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Three were rescued by troops bringing the number of freed Chibok girls so far to 106.

The girls – 218 of them – were abducted from their hostel at the Chibok Girls Secondary School in Borno State in April, 2014.

Salomi Pagu was rescued yesterday along with another girl in Pulka, Borno State.

The Deputy Director, Public Relations, of the Army’s Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu,  in a statement in Maiduguri said:

”Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Pulka today rescued one of the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists earlier in 2014.

“So far, preliminary investigations reveal that the young girl identified as Salomi Pagu is the same as the Chibok girl published on serial 86 of the online list of abducted Chibok girls.

“Currently the girl who was intercepted in the company of another young girl, Jamila Adams, about 14 years old with a child are in the safe custody of troops and receiving medical attention”.

Members of the #BringBackOurGirls (#BBOG) confirmed that the rescued girl’s status as an abducted Chibok schoolgirl. It gave miss Pagu’s number on the list of the girls as Number 15.

Col. Nwachukwu said the Chibok girl was found in the company of a 14-year old girl and her baby.

Spokesperson for the #BBOG Sesugh Akume, in a statement, said: “The Military Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole has announced that Nigerian troops of the operation in Pulka today rescued one of our 113 missing Chibok girls, Solomi Pagu, along with another young girl of about 14 years old, Jamila Adams, who is with a child. All of them are said to be in the safe custody of the troops and receiving medical attention.

“Our movement is delighted to confirm this news to be true. Salomi Pagu is a daughter of Mallam Pagu Yahi from Kaumutahyahi, a village in Kuburmbula ward of Chibok LGA. Both her parents are currently IDPs in Rumirgo Village, in nearby Askira/Uba LGA in Borno State.

“She is Number 15 on the publicly known list of missing #ChibokGirls, NOT Number 86, as the statement by the military said. This brings the number of our missing #ChibokGirls to 112.

“We are yet to ascertain further details about Jamila Adams and the baby.”

Posted On Friday, 05 January 2018 01:45 Written by

Fiery Catholic priest, Rev. Ejike Mbaka, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, warning that the President should change “those cabal holding him in captivity otherwise he would be changed”.

Mbaka spoke in his New Year message during the cross over mass at his Emene Enugu Adoration Ground.

The priest lamented that the good intentions of the president have been hijacked by the cabal he surrounded himself with. He urged President Buhari to wake up and live up to his billings as Nigerians have suffered a lot in the past year.

His message reads: “I had wanted to pray for you and go because I don’t want anybody to attack me; I don’t want the Bishop to invite me; I don’t want politicians to attack me anywhere. But God forced me to say it.

“Listen to me, 2017 became one of the most horrible years in this country and that is the message. The Lord says, Nigerians, he says, captive Nigerians, you will be speedily rescued; Nigerians, things are very difficult, hard and tough nowadays; the hardship is not from God, they are man-made; the wicked cabals and satanic agents in this country have wickedly kidnapped the goodwill and good intentions of President Muhammadu Buhari; his good intentions have been kidnapped; President Buhari must wake up and sit up immediately or…heaven demands him, heaven demands Buhari, our President to change all those who are holding and caging him in captivity; if he will not change them, he will be changed.

“Mr. President wake up; sit up; God said you are toying with the privilege given to you; there is no time; Nigerians are dying in your hand; people are not happy with your system. Change or you will be changed; God said that Buhari is in trouble; Buhari is hypnotised; Buhari is in a horrible bondage; Buhari’s mantra has been canibalised.

“Unless President Buhari quickly and strategically positions the right people and changes the ones he inaugurated, the wind of change that he himself inaugurated will blow him away shamefully. The wind will be too strong that Mr. President and the cabal will be blown out of office shamefully. The wind will be irresistible for it will come like a hurricane. Buhari can handle this problem but number one, his office, if he is not careful, another will take.

“Number 2, if he is doesn’t want to move Nigeria forward, God says He himself will plan a strategy of moving Nigeria forward. His pattern of embattling corruption is not just archaic and barbaric, but is witch-hunting, terribly selective. Mr. Buhari, why should you and EFCC be selective in arrests and prosecution, such that your party becomes a hideout for criminals?

“Change or you will be changed; after all you it was you who introduced change as your mantra.”

Posted On Tuesday, 02 January 2018 01:55 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari in one fell swoop on Friday appointed 209 board chairmen and 1,258 members of government owned agencies and parastatals, redeeming a part of the pledge he made 31 October at the National Executive Committee meeting of his All Progressives Congress.

More appointments are on the way, said Mr. Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Government of the Federation, who announced the latest massive batch of appointees.

At the APC NEC meeting, President Buhari also hinted he would expand his cabinet by appointing more ministers.

The latest appointments, the largest President Buhari ever made since 2015.

Many big wigs of the APC were appointed.

The party’s legal adviser, Muiz Banire is now the chairman of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria(AMCON). Senator Olorunimbe Mamora is the chairman of Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Centre.

The party’s secretary, Mai Mala Buni, is the chairman of the Shippers Council. Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, the publicity secretary of the party is in charge of the National Sugar Development Council(NSDC).

Demola Seriki, a former minister of state for defence is the chairman of the National Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron. Former Speaker House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh is the new chairman of the National Hospital, Abuja. A former deputy speaker, Chibudom Nwuche is in charge of Federal Medical Centre Lokoja.

Dr. Leke Pitan, a former commissioner for health in Lagos, under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was appointed chairman of National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services in Zaria. Teju Philips, also a former Lagos commissioner is the chairman of Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan. Pastor Yomi Kasali will head the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission.

Chief George Moghalu is the chairman of the Nigerian Communications Satellite(NIGCOMSAT). General John Shagaya is the chairman of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru Jos.

Former governors of Ekiti state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Engineer Segun Oni were also named as chairmen. Adebayo is in charge of Federal Airports of Nigeria(FAAN). Oni who is a vice-chairman of the APC has been posted to Nigerian Export Processing Zone. while Senator Ayo Arise, a recent kidnap victim will chair Sheda Science and technology Complex.

Former deputy governor of Plateau state, Pauline Tallen is the new chairman of National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS(NACA).

Former deputy governor of Ondo state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, will chair the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority, while a former deputy governor of Lagos, Femi Pedro is the chairman of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria.

Timi Alaibe, former Managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, is heading to Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority as chairman.

According to Boss Mustapha, all the appointments take immediate effect.

The ministers under whom the agencies fall, have been asked to constitute the boards immediately.

Said Mustapha: ” Mr. President considered the approval for the constitution of the Boards as well as the appointments, very necessary, so as to provide a proper Governance and oversight structure for Government Agencies and Parastatals.

“The constitution of the boards with the appointments, is a demonstration of this Government’s efforts aimed at building strong institutions of Governance, and by extension, improving the quality of Policy formulation and supervision”, he added.

See the full list: Board-Chairmen-and-members

Posted On Saturday, 30 December 2017 01:39 Written by

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says the sum of N27bn, which formed part of the proceeds of the sale of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, was shared among top government functionaries in 2014.

The EFCC disclosed this in a court paper filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 5, 2017.

The total sum of N27,188,232,208.20, allegedly looted by the named officials was said to be meant for the settlement of the insurance premiums for disengaged members of staff of PHCN.

Among the top government officials, named in the alleged scam, were the then Chief of Staff to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, Brig. Gen. Jones Arogbofa (retd.); the then Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla; and the then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali.

Others also named in the scam are a cousin to Jonathan, Robert Azibaola; a former Director-General, Bureau for Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki; and a former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil.

A supporting affidavit, filed alongside the EFCC’s ex parte application, stated how the money was shared.

The commission alleged that through proxies, Arogbofa got N150m; Dikki N1bn; Igali, N475m; Otunla N3.6bn; Jonathan’s cousin, Azibaola, N2.5bn; and Wakil, N118m.

The application alleged that of the total sum of N27,188,232,208, allegedly misappropriated by the government officials, the sums of N6,584,785, US$222,000, and N2,028,800,000 worth of shares of Aso Savings Limited had been recovered from the suspects.

The document, obtained by The PUNCH on Sunday, stated that the recovered money was being kept in the EFCC’s Recovered Funds Account domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It added that apart from the monetary recovery, 12 houses as well as two pieces of land, located in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja, and which were allegedly bought with proceeds of the loot, had also been recovered.

The seized properties include two units of four-bedroom detached duplex (Houses 12 & 14) at Alexander Miller Estate, Lekki-Lagos; one unit four-bedroom semi-detached terrace duplex (block C11, Unit 7) at Lekki Garden Estate Paradise 3, Lekki, Lagos; one unit of four-bedroom semi-detached(House 4b) at Olive Court, Agodi, GRA, Ibadan, Oyo State; and two units of three-bedroom flat with one room boys quarters at 6a & b Ogedengbe Street, Apapa, Lagos.

Others include one unit four-bedroom terrace duplex with one one-bedroom flat boys quarters (House 23, Flat 6) at Plot 100/101Gudu District, Isa Mohammed Street, Cadastral Zone, B01, FCT, Abuja; and one unit bedroom detached (House No. D1077) at House No. D1077 at Brains & Hammers Estate, Apo, Dutse, Abuja.

They also include one unit six-bedroom detached (House No.D1069) at house No.D1069 at Brains & Hammers Estate, Apo Dutse, Abuja; one unit three-bedroom flat (Flat 4A Hyde Tower) at 16a Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; a five-bedroom (detached) and three-bedroom bungalow both at Plot 145, Tarkwa Close, Wuse II, Abuja.

The rest are one unit plot of land, measuring 921.26 square meters at Plot 1086 Cadastral Zone, B10 Daki-Biyu, FCT, Abuja, and one unit plot of land, measuring 2486.12 square meters at Plot 2317 Nbora District, Cadastral Zone C06 FCT, Abuja.

The commission, by its ex parte application, is seeking orders of interim forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria” of the sums of N6,584,785,000.00 and US$222,000.00  “recovered in the course of investigation and presently in the possession of the EFCC in its Recovered Funds Account domiciled at the CBN.”

It also seeks the interim forfeiture of “units of ASO savings shares worth the sum of N2,028,800,000.00 “recovered in the course of investigation”.

It said the share certificates were “in the possession of the EFCC.”

The application also seeks an “order of interim forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria of the properties allegedly “recovered in the course of investigation from several persons and bodies and presently under the control of the EFCC (the applicant).”

The commission is also asking the court to direct the publication of a notice in any national daily newspaper “inviting any person(s) or body, who may have interest in the funds and /or assets/properties to show cause, within 14 days of the publication of the order of final forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria, why the said funds and assets/properties forfeiture order should not be made.”

The commission, through a member of its Special Investigation Committee, Madaki Yakubu, who deposed to a supporting affidavit, explained that it received intelligence report concerning the looted N27bn in August 2016.

The investigating officer explained that the sum of N27bn, which was part of the proceeds of the sale of PHCN, was released upon a recommendation by the Bureau for Public Enterprises and presidential approval, for settlement of insurance premiums for disengaged staff of the company.

He said the money was released to Great Nigeria Insurance.

He said there were however hiccups that arose in the process of paying the money to GNI Plc, but instead of returning the money to the treasury, “some unscrupulous public officials conspired among themselves and misappropriated the funds.”

He added that investigation revealed “that the funds, less taxes, which amounted to the sum of N26,236,594,986, was fraudulently paid to BBIL for further sharing to the conspirators ostensibly to collate details of beneficiaries, verify their claims and effect payment of group life and group accident insurance claim.”

On how the alleged loot was shared, the document stated, “That in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme, BBIL in turn paid out the sum of N6bn from the said funds to PJO Ventures Limited, a company controlled by Cecilia Osipitan, who doubled as the Managing Director/CEO of GNI Plc.

“That further to paragraph 9 above, the remaining sum of N20bn was further shared by BBIL amongst individuals and corporate bodies who acted as proxies and nominees of top government functionaries while BBIL also retained a part of the proceeds of unlawful activity for itself.

“That investigation further revealed that the details of the beneficiaries of the fraudulent sharing and criminal misappropriation of the public funds are as follows:

“Sunrise Estate Development Limited, a company controlled by one Sami A. Jaoude, fraudulently received the sum of N150m out of the funds from the account of BBIL on behalf of Brig. Gen. Arogbofa (retd.), the Chief of Staff to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, for development of a personal property.

“Kebna Studios & Communication Limited, a company in which Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, the then DG of BPE, has interest, fraudulently received the sum of N1bn out of the funds by the order of BIBL.

“Cheltenham Investment Services Limited, controlled by one Ifeyinwa Umunnakwe Okeke, fraudulently received the sum of N475m out of the funds from the account of BBIL, ostensibly to invest on behalf of Dr. Godknows Igali, the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power.

“WESAC Farms Limited and five other companies, all linked to Otunla Jonah, then Accountant General of the Federation, fraudulently received the sum of N3.6bn out of the funds from BBIL and used the sum of N2.0288bn to purchase Aso Savings’ shares in the name of LAVAGRE Y Limited.

“Sentinel Investment & Property Limited fraudulently received the sum of N45m also from BBIL out of the misappropriated funds.

“KAKARTA CE Limited and its promoter, one Robert Azibaola, fraudulently received the sum of N2.5bn out of the funds from BBIL.

“Carozzeria Nig. Limited and Pikat Properties Limited, both controlled by the then Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, fraudulently received the respective sums of N118m and N30m from BBIL out of the misappropriated funds.

“Nathan Christopher Construction Limited received the sum of N475m from BBIL out of the misappropriated funds on the pretext of a loan.”

The commission stated that the funds” paid in favour of the respective beneficiaries thereof, represent proceeds of unlawful activity, to wit criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation and abuse of office by the public officers involved on one hand, and the unlawful act of obtaining by false pretences, receiving stolen property and money laundering by the companies involved and their promoters on the other hand.”

It added, “In the course of investigation, the public officials, representatives and management of some of the beneficiary companies surrendered the properties listed as items No. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 in the schedule to the Motion on Notice, and refunded various amounts of money in Naira and US Dollars (the total of each is stated on the Motion paper) to the Recovered Funds Account of the EFCC domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“That further to paragraphs 12 & 13 above, in the course of our investigation, we discovered that the properties listed as items No. 1, 2, 3 & 4 in possession of PJO Ventures Limited, were substantially purchased with the proceed of unlawful activities of the company and its promoters as stated in paragraph 9 above.

“That further to paragraphs 11(d) & 12 above, the boards of Aso Savings Limited and Lavagrey Development Company Limited have respectively passed separate resolutions surrendering and forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the said shares purchased with the proceeds of unlawful activity.

“That further to the foregoing paragraphs, I know as a fact that the recovered funds are proceeds of the stated unlawful activities and/or unclaimed properties, and that it is desirable and in the interest of justice to grant our prayers.”

Jonathan’s ex-Chief of Staff has been invited, cleared –Aide

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Arogbofa said the ex-chief of staff had been invited by the EFCC and cleared.

The spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was Igali that handled all the affairs of the Ministry of Power.

He said, “Mr. Arogbofa was invited by the EFCC last year and he explained everything he knew. Igali and his people were the ones running the entire power ministry.

“When the EFCC saw that he (Arogbofa) was innocent, they let him go. As I speak to you, he is out of the country because he is no longer on the EFCC radar. You can call his lawyer, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, for more details.”

However, attempts to speak with Ajulo on Sunday proved abortive as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

I know nothing about that, says Igali

When contacted on the EFCC’s allegations against him as touching the N27bn allegedly shared proceeds, Igali, who was the former permanent secretary of the power ministry, told one of our correspondents that he was not aware of the case.

Igali, who claimed to be ignorant of the matter, requested to know when the court paper was filed.

When told that the paper was filed on December 5, 2017, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, he replied, “I don’t know anything about that.”

Attempts to speak with the former DG of BPE, Mr. Benjamin Filling, proved abortive as calls to his mobile rang out.

He had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile line as of the time of going to press.

Posted On Monday, 25 December 2017 14:23 Written by

Former Arsenal defender, Emmanuel Eboue, cannot afford a washing machine and sleeps on the floor in a friend’s place after suffering a dip in fortunes.

The Ivory Coast’s former player pocketed millions of pounds per year while plying his trade in England, but in a bare-all and heart-wrenching interview with The Mirror, the 34-year-old revealed he had been pushed to the brink of suicide.

Apart from sleeping on the floor of a friend’s home, Eboue – who also played for Galatasaray and Sunderland, claimed he dodges court ­bailiffs on a daily basis.

How did Eboue’s fortune changed? The right back, who is currently unable to play football because of ill-health, lost all his assets to his wife Aurelie after a divorce battle.

He was ordered by a judge to transfer his home to Aurelie, so the former Arsenal defender has since hidden from bailiffs for three weeks.

“I can’t afford the money to continue to have any lawyer or barrister. I am in the house but I am scared. Because I don’t know what time the police will come.” Eboue told The Mirror.

“Sometimes I shut off the lights because I don’t want people to know that I am inside. I put everything behind the door.”

To add to his woes, the 34-year-old has not seen his children since June. Not to mention the fact that his grandfather Amadou Bertin, who raised him throughout his life, died in October.

Eboue spoke about being naive and has warned other young African footballers to learn from the mistakes he made:

“I look back and say ­’Emmanuel, you have been naive… why didn’t you think about that before?’ It is hard. Very, very hard. The money I earned, I sent it to my wife for our children.” Eboue said.

“In Turkey I earned eight million euros. I sent seven million back home. Whatever she tells me to sign, I sign.

“She is my wife. The problems with FIFA were because of people advising me. People who are supposed to care. But it was because of them FIFA banned me.”

Posted On Sunday, 24 December 2017 18:48 Written by

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Ogun, on Saturday, sealed off six petrol stations and arrested four persons in the state.

The DPR made the arrests for fuel hoarding, under-dispensing, sabotage, obstruction of justice and installation of commercial gas cylinders without approval.

All the affected petrol stations were found to have more than enough of the commodity but refused to sell it to the public.Some buyers, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), accused the station owners of selling fuel at night above the pump price of N145.

“They only sell at night and they sell for N200 per litre,” one of the buyers in Ota, Ogun, who pleaded anonymity, said.

A mild drama, however, ensued at one of the filling stations along Ilaro expressway, as the attendants and the manager fled upon sighting the DPR officials and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The DPR Head of Operations, Mr Kasali Akinade, led the surveillance team to the stations.

Akinade said that the exercise became necessary after receiving the information that some filling stations were hoarding, under-dispensing and selling above the pump price.

“We are aware that some filling stations are either hoarding or selling above the pump price; as high as N180 or N200 per litre, which is against the government price policy of N145.

“When we see any filling station, either hoarding or not selling, what we do is to order them to start selling at the approved pump price,” he said.

Kasali, who decried the artificial scarcity created by the filling stations, added that the arrests made were due to the uncooperative attitude of those arrested.

“Normally in a situation like this, we didn’t want to make any arrest, but just to ask them to sell, however, some of them were not willing to cooperate with us.

“When we asked them to start selling, they put off the engine; that is, the electric generator, which is against government policy.

‘‘This country is blessed with petroleum and the good people of Nigeria are not supposed to be denied the use of the resources.

Meanwhile, the Zonal Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC, Mr Kareem Olarenwaju, explained that those arrested were caught hoarding fuel and selling above pump price.

He said, “four were arrested for their role in hoarding fuel and some were also guilty of breach of peace; one of them obstructed us for a long time”.

Olarenwaju revealed that those arrested would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

‘‘They may be made to pay normal fine to the DPR, otherwise, they will be charged to court,” he said.

Other filling stations visited that were hitherto not selling fuel prior to the DPR’s arrival, were forced to sell at the official pump price.

Posted On Saturday, 23 December 2017 23:11 Written by
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